2020 – legendary for all the wrong reasons; the year where the only certainty has been uncertainty and the question “will I be able to ski in winter 20/21?” has been on every skier’s mind.
Deciding to travel during a pandemic requires thought and care – hosting hundreds of slope-starved skiers takes the need for thought and care to another level and resorts are taking their role in helping everyone stay safe very seriously.
Owning your own ski chalet makes things easier in many ways, and certainly means you can be more flexible but you’ll still notice some changes. One thing is certain though - the mountains will always remind you why you’re there.
Are the ski resorts opening in 20/21?
The short answer is yes – at the time of writing most resorts are planning to open with their regular schedules, with resorts in Finland and Switzerland already open. The long answer is that the rules and permissions will be subject to change, and travellers need to consider the risks as well as the benefits. Flexibility is the order of the day.
Resorts in the Northern hemisphere have learned from the expertise of their southern counterparts, as well as from 6 months of living with the pandemic. You’ll find various strategies are in place to keep everyone safe, and keep the resorts open.
Is a ski apartment or chalet the best option for skiing in winter 20/21?
It certainly seems that way. Being in your own ski property gives you greater control over hygiene and cleanliness, as well as reducing some of the concerns about the social aspect of your ski holiday in winter 20/21. Your own apartment or chalet means it's easy to maintain your own bubble and eat or relax with family and friends so a lot of the concerns about the social aspects of a ski trip are minimised.
Having said that, some restaurants and hotel dining facilities are still operating, with full safety measures like plexi-partitions and protection for staff, so you’ll still be able to eat out, but it will feel different.
You may well find other facilities are closed, and if having a spa-style soak at the end of a day on the slopes is a big part of your holiday, being in your own hot-tub equipped chalet or apartment will be a definite bonus.
Lifts, temperature checks, and masks for 20/21 ski season
Will everyone be wearing masks?
Wearing a mask is second nature for skiers, so this won’t be the same hurdle it has for some. Many resorts stipulate masks must be worn in lift queues, with some asking people to wear them for the whole lift journey. You'll find most other indoor settings such as supermarkets and restaurants will ask that you wear a mask. A few resorts have stipulated that masks should be worn outdoors as well. Check the advice and rules before you go so you can help keep everyone safe.
What about lifts?
This seems to be a contentious issue and photos of crowded queues have caused concern about safety. Some resorts are operating with strict social distancing, extensive disinfectant misting and minimum people in a lift, others are taking a lower key approach of compulsory mask wearing and open windows in lifts, to minimise the problems of overcrowded queues. There’s no easy answer to this one – the only option is to research the current policy in your chosen resort and be sure you feel comfortable and confident with it.
Will there be temperature checks?
This simple and effective precaution is common at many ski areas – a simple forehead scan as you board check your temperature is in the COVID-19-free range.
Will I need to get a test before I travel?
Several countries over the summer have asked visitors to supply proof of a negative Covid-19 result before they’re allowed entry, either by taking a test 72 hours before travel or by having a test on arrival. This is likely to remain in place as long as the virus is active. There’s no definitive answer (can you sense a theme) and whether you’ll need a test depends on where you’re travelling from along with the requests of the country you’re travelling to. Seeking flights and accommodation with some level of flexibility is key.
What about insurance for skiing in Winter 20/21?
Insurance companies are offering COVID-19 cover in their policies, which will see you able to manage cancellations, with some offering cover if you choose to travel against FCDO advice. The normal caveats around being sure your cover includes winter sports still apply.
Is it all over for Après ski?
Après ski will be different – you’ll see familiar safety measures like table service, wearing masks when moving about and protection for staff members. Music festivals such as Rise and Snowboxx have confirmed their line ups for 2021, so there is a thrust towards hope for a lively note for the 2021 season.
What comes after the 20/21 ski season?
The positives of mountain living - clean air, active lifestyle, space to enjoy time with family and friends, to name just a few - have come even more into focus for property hunters during the pandemic. Homeworking has meant relocation for many of those who enjoy the benefit of a second home, and piqued a new aspect of interest amongst buyers. Add in the careful package of measures each resort is applying for the winter 20/21 ski season and it seems interest in ski property has potential to grow, with owners and renters alike seeking the surety of their own space in the mountains.
If you’re hoping to get ahead of the game, our property alerts mean you can be sure to stay on top of the latest trends, and our buyers guides will help you get everything in place to be ready to launch your dream of joining the people who’ve discovered the magic of mountain living.